National Center for Effective Mental Halth Consultation
   

Service Array

Service ArrayTypes of Consultation
To optimize the impact of ECMHC, consultants should offer both child/family-centered consultation as well as programmatic consultation. Child or family-centered consultation is designed to address the factors that contribute to an individual child's (and/or family's) difficulties in functioning well in the early childhood setting. This type of consultation is typically provided to staff and families and is often initiated by concerns about an individual child's problematic behavior.

In contrast, programmatic consultation is designed to enhance the overall quality of an ECE program and/or to assist the program in solving a specific issue that affects more than one child, staff member, and/or family. This type of consultation is typically provided to program staff and administrators.

Providing both types of consultation helps to ensure that services address the mental health needs of all the children in the ECE program — not just those with identified mental health challenges. Further, this two-pronged approach ensures that children's mental health needs are met in the short- and long-term, with consultants working simultaneously to tackle current issues while strengthening programs' overall ability to foster mental wellness on an ongoing basis. Frequently, mental health consultants will apply both child/family-centered and programmatic consultation simultaneously to the same situation or need (Duran et al., 2009).

Promotion, Prevention and Intervention
Given that a fundamental goal of ECMHC is to support optimal mental health for all young children, an effective consultant must facilitate implementation of activities that address the full spectrum of young children's mental health needs. This includes activities that

  1. Promote healthy social/emotional development
  2. Prevent mental health problems, particularly for children at-risk
  3. Provide early intervention for young children demonstrating challenging or troubling behaviors

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Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development National Center for Effective Mental Health Consultation